Gamboge, False mangosteen - Garcinia xanthochymus Hook. f. ex T. Anderson

Ganboge fruitCredit: ©Oscar Jaitt

There are over 240 Garcinia species, mostly from southeast Asia. Garcinia species from the Americas were once classified as Rheedia, but now all are considered Garcinia. 

Tree: dense pyramidal crown

Leaves: leathery, oblong to lance shaped, hang down from the branches

Flowers: small, greenish white, male and hermaphrodite in dense clusters

Fruit: round, yellow orange, yellow pulp, 1-3 seeds

Damage temp. harm 32F, Kill 28F

Ligth Requirement: sun or part shade

PH preference: prefers 6-7.5, tolerates 5.5-8


Fig. 1

Other Information


Synonyms:, Xanthochymus pictorius Roxb., Garcinia tinctoria, Garcinia dulcis (misapplied)

Common Names: Mysore gamboge, yellow mangosteen, eggtree, gamboge tree, sour mangosteen, Himalayan Garcinia and false mangosteen; in Brazil, gamboge, mangostao-amarelo, falso-mangostin; in India, Cochin Goraka

Family: Clusiaceae (alt Guttiferae).


Garcinia xanthochymus is native to northern India. The genus Garcinia contains 240 species with a center of diversity in the Old World. This species was introduced into Hawaii by Albert Jaeger in 1900. 1

Garcinia xanthochymus originated probably from India and Burma. It occurs in the wild, growing in the hills of South India and can also be found widely distributed in the hill forests of the Eastern Himalayas and hence the common name ‘Himalayan Garcinia'.

The leaves are large (15.4-30.5 cm in length) and leathery and are oblong to lance shaped. The small flowers (1.3 cm in diameter) are born in a dense cluster of 4-10 flowers and are greenish white in color. The flowers are unisexual meaning that the ovule and pollen producing structures are borne on separate flowers and in this species are borne on different trees. The pollen producing flowers have five petals and many stamens on which the pollen is produced that are arranged in bundles each containing five stamens. The ovule producing flowers also have stamens but they are non-functional or sterile therefore they produce no pollen. The bright yellow-orange fruit is almost round and is 5 cm to 8.9 cm in diameter. The fleshy fruit usually contains 5 seeds that are surrounded by a yellow pulp that is edible. 2

Garcinia xanthochymus is cultivated extensively in Southeast Asia where the fruit is made into preserves, jams, and curries. The dried fruit sap is called gamboge and provides a dye that is used in watercolor paints.


Garcinia xanthochymus Flower buds Leaves
Fig. 2 Fig. 3 Fig. 4
Unripe fruit Fruit habit Fruit habit
Fig. 5 Fig. 6 Fig. 7
Tree habit Growth habit Tree
Fig. 8 Fig. 9 Fig. 10
Fig. 11


Sorting Garcinia Names from theMultilingual Multiscript Plant Name Database, University of Melbourne, Australia ext. link


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1 Staples, G. W. and D. R. Herbst. A Tropical Garden Flora: Plants cultivated in the Hawaiian Islands and other tropical places. Honolulu, Hawai’i. Bishop Museum Press. 2005. Print.

Lorenzi, Harri, Bacher, Luis, Lacerda, Marco and Sartori, Sergio. Brazillian Fruits & Cultivated Exotics (for consuming in natura). Brazil. Instituto Plantarum de Estudos da Flora LTDA. 2006. Print.


Fig. 1 Jaitt, Oscar. Garcinia xanthochymus, False Mangosteen. N.d. Web. 31 Jan. 2015.

Fig. 2 Starr, Forest and Kim. Garcinia xanthochymus (Yellow mangosteen, false mangosteen, gourka) Fruit in half. 2012. Kahanu Gardens, Hana, Maui. Web. 31 Jan. 2015.

Fig. 3 jayeshpatil912. Flowers of Garcinia xanthochymus from Clusiaceae. 2012. Again, native to India but rarely seen in cultivation. Web. 30 Jan. 2015.

Fig. 4,7,10,11 Kwan. Garcinia xanthochymus. 2009. natureloveyou.sq. Web. 31 Jan. 2015. 

Fig. 5 Ghosh, Asit K. Thaumaturgist. Unripe fruits are hanging from a False Mangosteen aka Gamboge (Garcinia xanthochymus / Clusiaceae) tree in the Mounts Botanical Garden. 2010. West Palm Beach, Florida. Web. 30 Jan. 2015.

Fig. 6,9 Vinayaraj. Garcinia tinctoria. 2012. Web. 30 Jan. 2015.

Fig. 8 Starr, Forest and Kim. Garcinia xanthochymus (Yellow mangosteen, false mangosteen, gourka). 2009. Kahanu Gardens NTBG Kaeleku Hana, Maui. Web. 31 Jan. 2015.

Published 30 Jan. 2015 LR. Updated 31 Jan. 2015 LR

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